Voltage regulators fact or fiction?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Garrett-Wallace, May 5, 2003.

  1. Garrett-Wallace

    Garrett-Wallace Auditioning

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    I recently made a trip to Ultimate Electronics for a new progressive scan DVD player, upon getting the DVD player I wanted, the salesperson immediately started asking the "you want fries with that" questions. Upon realizing that I have way more Home Theater equipment than I have rooms in the house (I just won a sales contest in which I was given $9000 worth of home theater equipment on top of what I already had) the pitch started moving towards Voltage Stabalizers and other equipment to clean and increase the power coming from my home outlets.

    What I am wondering is if these items have any value or if it is just another thing that they want you to think you need when in reality gains are small if any. Any opinions or experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    small if any. your equipment is designed to operate and meet it's specifications over a rather wide range of power, certainly wider than you're probably experiencing.

    a more practical way of thinking would be to run separate lines to your HT system, possibly using a separate panel which would largely isolate you from other stuff in your house. then some attention could be directed towards improving your earth ground outside your home. If your soil is poor, sandy, not wet, a poor conductor, improvements can be made in this area. Then one can always finish up with some beefier outlets. Call it a spring/summer project if you will.

    In a way, this is like you going to a hospital and someone says to you, how'd you like prescriptions for propecia? Now if you've got hair, it's something you probably don't need.

    I'm of the school that says it's better to remove the stone from the shoe rather than keep taking medication for the pain.
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    btw, congrats on the windfall...got to pay taxes on that?
     
  4. Arup

    Arup Stunt Coordinator

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    Constant Voltage Transformers the likes of Tripp Lite are very useful especially if you live in areas with brownouts and surges. Makes your amp run with full power when the voltage is proper. Also saves your costly equipment from failures.

    One of the reason for transformer failures in a amp, receiver and other components is poor line voltage. During tests on amps the line voltage is stabilized for proper power output. even a 10% drop results in reduction of peak power in the range of 10-15 watts.
     
  5. Darrel McBane

    Darrel McBane Second Unit

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    I use a VansEvers Model 85 Reference Line Cleaner. It improves my picture from cable, DVD to my Loewe tv. All of my main two channel equipment is hooked up to it. As well as my Aragon Stage One and Rotel 1090 amp. It's a vital piece of equipment in my system.
     
  6. Garrett-Wallace

    Garrett-Wallace Auditioning

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    Thanks everyone for your input, sounds like something to at least look into a little closer.

    And to answer your questions Chu, yes I had to pay taxes on that, 38% to be exact [​IMG]

    Once again all of your info was much appreciated!
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Ever go to the gas station and see your hose shake/jump because someone else is trying to top-off their tank? Thats because the system is all connected.

    Your AC power is the same way: the quality of YOUR electrical service depends on what everyone else in your area is doing at that moment. It's all connected.

    Two reviewers for the "Sensible Sound" tested the same power conditioner for a week each. Their conclusions:

    Reviewer A: it made little to no difference.

    Reviewer B: it made a dramatic difference/I'll never be without one again.

    One of the reviewers lived in a ranch home out in the country. The other - an apartment on a downtown city street. Very different power service.

    If you are interested in one of these units, ask to "demo" a unit in your home. Do your test during the same time you would normally use your HT system. This way you are testing under the same conditions you would normally use things.

    Good Luck.
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    or just head on down to radio shack, pick up one of their multimeters that lets you hook the data readout into your pc, install the rudimentary software, and diagnose your voltage. these voltage regulator people ain't coming to your house for a diagnosis now! about $50.
     
  9. HowardGjr

    HowardGjr Stunt Coordinator

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    Garrett-Wallace,

    FWIW...I was going down a similar path when I tripped over one of Chu Gai's previous comments.

    I ended up "charting" the line voltage into the house using some software that came with a UPS that we use to protect my wife's computer. After a couple of weeks, I noticed some voltage swings. Armed with this info, I called up the electric company. The sent a technician out that rebuilt the the taps coming into my house. Ah, the joys of stable voltage and the joy of a stone removed from one's shoe.

    I also went with the dedicated 20 Amp circuit for the HT and whole house surge supression. Suprisingly, this didn't cost a whole lot.

    Good luck with whatever path you decide to take.
    Howard
     
  10. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Howard: what gear did you use for "whole house surge supression"? Who makes it and do you have any links?
     
  11. Dick N

    Dick N Extra

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    Garrett-Wallace, good comments from folks so far. The need is going to be based on where you are, such as if you live in an area that has brown outs or has power failures, usually more rural in nature.

    Who else is in your neighborhood, is there a lot of (heavy) industry in the area? Even in your own house air conditioners, washers, driers, fans, dishwashers cause transients and sags

    Are the powerlines above ground or burried and what kind of weather do you experience? Frequent thunderstorms and lightening will generate transients on your power lines. Above ground lines are more likely to be hit.

    This all has to balance with your budget and value of your equipment. What did you spend on your cables? If you have invested alot in your equipment then is a few bucks on conditioning much?

    Is your equipment insured?

    Personally I like the suggestion of running a seperate circuit for your home theater and putting some conditioning on that circuit only.

    Cheers.
     
  12. JayF

    JayF Stunt Coordinator

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    Garrett-Wallace, I've seen similar threads here & at the avsforum and there always seems to be a 50/50 split in how folks view power conditioners. I have owned a PS Audio Powerplant 600 for over a year now and consider it an important part of my system. I use it to power my CRT projector, pre-pro and DVD player. The impact is definitely noticeable.
     
  13. fedge

    fedge Auditioning

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    Um GET ONE!!! and get a good one!!!...

    I had a catastrophic failure of my homes fuse system.. over/under voltage flow throughout the home. But in a power surge the same thing could happen from power company or a lightning strike. My insurance did not cover any damage due to a power failure that has items that contain transistors, tubes, etc... So it was a good thing that most of my equipment was older and no hdtv yet. The only thing that saved my computer was an opti-ups unit. It had taken the system off the houses power and i unplugged it as an APC blew like a firecracker and so did the computers PSU that was connected to the APC unit.

    If you have a bad problem with your home electricity and this could happen anytime.. even when not home you could loose a lot and some of the big ticket items might not be covered by your insurance from this type of loss.
     

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